Survivors of sexual violence at Panzi Hospital in DRC (Photo by Paula Allen/V-Day)

Sexual Violence and HIV/AIDS

There can no longer be any question that women are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Violence – and the threat of violence – affects women’s ability to protect themselves from infection. In conflict situations, violence and the virus often go together.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation works with initiatives run by and for women to mitigate the impact of gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS. It’s a multi-faceted issue, but African women and the grassroots groups working with them have set the agenda for an integrated response:

  • Heal and support women who have been subject to sexual and gender-based violence
  • Promote economic independence for women and girls
  • Educate girls and women towards sexual autonomy
  • Advocate for women’s equality and laws against violence against women

The Stephen Lewis Foundation works with community-based organizations addressing the intersection of sexual violence and HIV and AIDS. These organizations deal with crisis situations and provide urgent medical care, counselling and expert assistance on the ground.

We are also supporting the creation, by frontline activists, of the African Institute for Integrated Responses to Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS (AIR). The Institute is unlike anything else that exists on the continent: imagine a dynamic, mobile, expert response team of women, ready to assist other women and organizations throughout Africa, armed with expertise in counselling and trained to assist frontline workers, counsellors, nurses and doctors. The Institute will also serve as a much-needed forum for advocates to come together to exchange new ideas, approaches and lessons learned around sexual violence and AIDS. Visit the AIR website to learn more.

To watch a video message from Stephen Lewis about sexual violence and HIV/AIDS, click here.

News

'Ask Her' gives African women platform to share world views May 27, 2015

Canada AM , CTV News

Ask Her Talks giving African women a voice May 25, 2015

Staff, Montreal Gazette

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